March 17, 2011
In about two weeks our Board of Trustees will name Earlham’s next President.
A few months ago, a recently retired member of the Faculty handed me a brief memo he had sent to an earlier Presidential Search Committee.
“Let me suggest one last minute criterion for a new president. I would prefer a president who agrees with Henry Adams to the effect that a teacher affects eternity and can never tell where his influence stops, rather than one who is forever talking about the “management” of higher education. I would like a president who sees learning not primarily as the product of elaborate technology, systemic flow charts, and cost-effectiveness, but as an exposure to what Michael Oakeschott and Robert Hutchins both called “the conversation of mankind,” in which all the intellectual disciplines do not just just have a place on the organizational table, but are active participants in a conversation in which all can be heard (and even possibly understood?) by each other.”
Sounds like a prime criterion to me.